Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez vs. Saints SS Roman Harper: The amazing Gonzalez has 50 catches for the 15th straight season. He has 495 yards and five touchdowns and a streak of 187 straight games with a reception. Harper, the heart and soul of the Saints secondary, has 58 tackles and one interception. Harper, who also is a threat to blitz, has 17 sacks since 2006.
Falcons DTs Corey Peters, Jonathan Babineaux vs. Saints Gs Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs: The battle for turf in the middle of the line will be fierce. Peters is rounding back into form after returning from a stress fracture in his foot. He played 20 snaps against Philadelphia in his first game back and 36 against Dallas. Evans, who has reached All-Pro status and is a three-time Pro Bowler, is considered one of the top guards in the league. The Saints signed Ben Grubbs away from Baltimore after losing Carl Nicks in free agency. “I definitely will go against Jahri sometimes,” Babineaux said. “Now, they’ve got Ben Grubbs out there also so it’s going to be a great matchup across the board for the d-tackles against their guards. That will be one of the keys to the game.”
Falcons RB Michael Turner vs. Saints MLB Curtis Lofton: Turner is coming off his second 100-yard game and his hoping to get some better lead blocking from Mike Cox, who was signed this week to replace Lousaka Polite. In the last two games, the Falcons have remained patient with the rushing attack and the move paid off in wins over the Eagles and Cowboys. In their two most recent wins over the Saints in 2008 and 2010, Turner had 27 and 30 carries. Lofton will be on a mission to shut down the run and show the Falcons he can play in pass coverage. He is leading the Saints in tackles with 78. “It’s going to be weird especially with him wearing those colors,” Turner said. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be juiced up for this game.”
OTHER RECENT NEWS